Dog Tax

(MGL Ch.140 s.172 and s.174)

What is the dog tax?

The dog tax is the money collected through county or municipal regulation of dogs. Counties are traditionally responsible for administering the laws relating to the licensing, control, and regulation of dogs. Dog tax monies received by the county treasurer that are not paid out for damages, license blanks or books, record books, rabies vaccines or other purposes, are paid back to the treasurers of towns in proportion to the amounts received from such towns. The money refunded by the county must be expended for the support of public libraries or schools. Since the establishment of Chapter 308, Acts of 1985, municipalities have the option of withdrawing from the county dog program and assuming full responsibility for licensing, control and regulation of dogs. When a municipality withdraws from the county dog program, it can then define the disposition of fees collected through that program.

Is dog tax money considered municipally appropriated income on the application for State Aid to Public Libraries?

Dog tax is considered municipally appropriated income since it must be voted on annually at town meeting or by city council. Dog tax is reported in the State Aid to Public Libraries application as "dog tax" and is considered to be part of the Total Appropriated Municipal Income (TAMI).

For further information regarding dog tax, contact the Property Tax Bureau, Massachusetts Department of Revenue, at (617) 626-2300.

Summarized from Division of Local Services Informational Guidelines Release no. 86-220 (Authorization for Local Dog Licensing,Control, and Regulation).

Page last updated on 07/1/2015